Fri., Aug. 2, 2013
› How can we miss you if you won't go away? The second special session of the 83rd Legislature ended July 30 with no agreement on transportation funding. Gov. Rick Perry immediately called another special, even though lawmakers warned him no deal is imminent (see Lege Lines.)
› No City Council meeting this week, but on August 1 the budget cycle resumes in earnest, with the formal presentation of the proposed budget by City Manager Marc Ott and the budget staff. See "Budget Stretch Run."
› City labor negotiations with the Austin Firefighters Association collapsed last week as the two sides could not agree on a new hiring procedure – city negotiators declared an impasse, and if no agreement can be reached by Oct. 1, standard civil service rules would apply.
› Austin Independent School District will finally break ground on its long-awaited Performing Arts Center at the Mueller development on Aug. 6. The 1,200-seat auditorium will be paid for with $30 million in voter-approved bonds.
› People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals this week announced that it was giving the Compassionate Fire Department Award to the Austin Fire Dept. for the heroic efforts of firefighters who went above and beyond to rescue a dog from an East Austin blaze. PETA says firefighter David Dickerson pulled the dog, Layla, to safety and used a special oxygen mask to revive her. Layla is expected to make a full recovery.
› Austin Police on July 25 charged 26-year-old Matthew Bacon with the murder of 36-year-old David Villarreal. Bacon allegedly told police he'd been wanting to kill someone for a while when he met Villarreal at Rain, a bar on West Fourth. He went home with Villarreal and bludgeoned him with a hammer, then slit his throat, before stealing electronics from the condo and fleeing to Louisiana, where he was picked up trying to sell drugs in a truck stop.
› A police motorcade snaked from Lakeway to Pflugerville where the Lakeway Police Department buried one of its own Monday afternoon. Sgt. Chris Doles was killed in a car accident Thursday morning on RR 620 south of Anderson Mill Road. The Lakeway Police Foundation has set up a fund to help Doles' family. Donations can be dropped off at the Lakeway PD or at Prosperity Bank, 1415 RR 620 South.
› Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast last week agreed to pay $1.4 million to end a Medicaid fraud inquiry by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's office. The AG's investigators said that PPGC billed for services it did not render; PPGC denies all wrongdoing.
› On July 30, Army whistleblower Bradley Manning, who released hundreds of confidential military documents to online publisher WikiLeaks – exposing military brutality and diplomatic corruption – was convicted on several charges of espionage but acquitted of "aiding the enemy," which could have meant a life-without-parole sentence. Manning could still be sentenced to decades of incarceration.